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the convenience of mental illness

The mental illness diagnosis is convenient isn’t it? Never mind that it’s not being honest it does however fit nicely into the world of dogmatic people for whom our acknowledgement becomes problematic. Think of the churches for whom the sanctity of male and female and marriages based on that unbreakable model cannot bend to accommodate reality; after all wouldn’t everyone want to adopt our “lifestyle” if they relaxed the rules?

These are not deep philosophical thinkers but leaders of groups which view us as a fly in the ointment that cannot form part of the human fabric. We are to be viewed as defectives in need of pity and moral guidance. Never mind that we come from all walks of life including politicians, lawyers, engineers, scientists or social workers; the mental illness model fits just as well as any even if it bristles against reality. The fact that the world doesn’t actually work the way these groups mandate doesn’t matter to them. It is much more important to keep their flocks obedient and subservient because many if not most cannot think for themselves; or at least that is what these leaders are sure is the case.

You and I know that this is a ruse and eventually so will the rest of the world and in the meantime we will do our best to educate amidst that firm resistance.


  1. I have a couple of things to say that I hope adds to this important topic.
    1. My belief is that mental illness (e.g., depression, anxiety, social phobias, etc.) arise for trans people out of their struggles with gender dysphoria and living in families and societies that don't support and/or understand them, especially in their formative years.

    2. My (ex) wife comes from a very religious family (think: Pentecostal) who tell her that my being trans is the result of the Devil and thus I need reparative therapy to exorcise that from within me. Thankfully my wife knows this is nuts.

    3. The good news is that we are seeing a small but increasing number of religious scholars and ministers who are not only learning and accepting the realities of trans people but are also bravely reaching out to their congregations and church leadership. A couple of examples:

    - Dr. Mark Yarhouse:
    I particularly liked Dr. Yarhouse's presentation as he provides a rational way to explain how we miscommunicate about issues, that people view concepts through their own "lenses" and everyone's need to be aware of this to foster understanding.

    - Mark Wingfield "The Baptist Pastor and His Transgender Friends":
    Mark Wingfield's talk is fun and informative and, frankly, amazing that it's coming from a straight, cis, white, middle-aged, Baptist minister from Texas!

    Happy New Year to all, Emma

    1. Keep arming yourself with information Emma because this is very powerful...,Happy New Year to you as well!

  2. I think that many people consider being trans to be mentally ill by definition, but when pressed to articulate how, they are at a loss. Especially those who would not say the same about gay people. (Those who think every sexual deviation from themselves is disorder have their own issues.)

    I’ve pressed, asking what it is about being trans that they regard as mental illness. If they articulate something resembling “delusion,” I can very quickly disabuse them of what I believe is an understandable misconception. And I find a diplomatic way to convey the notion that perhaps I’m not so much confused as I am CONFUSING TO THEM. Which is fine. As long as you’re not hostile, I will happily engage you, validating your skepticism as you process me.

    It’s all about finding the right words.

    1. confusing to them I can understand Caryn. What is more problematic to me is the catch-all mental illness diagnosis which I believe has less to do about trying to comprehend than hostile labeling in order to fit us into their own specific agendas which is what the alt-right and evangelicals do for example.


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